There are plenty of scary events this October but if you want your thrills to be 30-feet-high, head to the movies. From the Fox to the main-run theaters, there will be plenty of options for you and your pals to have a spooky good time.

Horror Fest

What: A Stephen King-focused run of some of the best film adaptations. All shows at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Tickets are $9.

Where: Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza 16, 2000 Wible Road.

"Carrie" (Oct. 3): The ultimately terrifying coming-of-age tale starring Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, the girl whose mother opted out of the birds and bees talk for one of fire and brimstone. Toss in telekinetic powers that kick in with puberty and the teen is a powder keg of emotion. Watch out for the explosion.

"Misery" (Oct. 10): The darkly comedic story of a No. 1 fan gone wrong with Kathy Bates in an Oscar-winning turn as Annie Wilkes, who lucks into keeping her favorite author, Paul Sheldon (James Caan), captive in her home after he's in a terrible car accident.

"Pet Sematary" (Oct. 17): proving "sometimes dead is better" and why you should never live next to a busy country road when you've got wandering pets and small children. This creepy take on creatures coming back from the dead stars Fred Gwynne (out of the Herman Munster makeup) and Miko Hughes, probably known best for a famous line in "Kindergarten Cop" (it's about boys and girls).

"The Dead Zone" (Oct. 24): Can you get creepier than teaming director David Cronenberg and actor Christopher Walken? The latter stars as a schoolteacher who awakens from a coma able to learn people's secrets through physical contact. Suffice it to say, that doesn't work well for him or those around him.

"The Shining" (Oct. 31):: The gold standard of classic King tales in a version that he didn't particularly like. This is Stanley Kubrick's baby and it's creepy and visually arresting. You can't forget Jack Nicholson's performance as the hotel caretaker gone mad, or Danny Lloyd as his beleaguered son with the gift of "the shining" to see all the bad things that have happened at the Overlook.

Cinema Macabre

What: Arranged by the Kern County Library, the eerie movie series moved from Beale Memorial Library to Maya Cinemas, where it showed "Creature from the Black Lagoon" last month. 

Where: Maya Cinemas, 1000 California Ave.

"The Curse of Frankenstein" (Oct. 3):  The film that kicked off the series earlier this year returns for a hopefully curse-free performance. (A power surge cut the February screening short at the library.) The screening will be followed by a film discussion hosted by the Boogeyman (aka promoter and radio personality Patrick Spurlock).

Cults and Classics

What: The Fox Theater continues to show its mixed bag of popular films with a few scares tosses in for October. Shows at 7 p.m. Cost is $5.

Where: Fox Theater, 2001 H St.

"Zombieland" (Oct. 15): Surviving the zombie apocalypse never seemed so practical. Survivor Jesse Eisenberg lays out the ground rules, which are blown to hell by fellow survivors played by Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin.

"The Exorcist" (Oct. 29):  The film, based on William Peter Blatty's page turner, is an enduring horror standard. Less about the jump scares — although they're there — and a lot of unsettling feelings about faith and the nature of evil. Don't let anybody convince you to play with a ouija board.

Fathom Events

Mainstream releases

There are a number of films coming out this month in wide release. This week brings the disappointing-looking "Hell Fest," in which three women and their boyfriends are terrorized at a ghoulish traveling carnival on Halloween night.

Also on tap are "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" (Oct. 12) for the families; a new "Halloween" (Oct. 19) that brings back original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and jettisons all films beyond the 1978 classic and "Suspiria" (Oct. 26), an eerie reimagining of the Dario Argento classic starring Dakota Johnson (escaping her "50 Shades" shackles) and Tilda Swinton.

Where: Local theaters; check listings closer to opening dates.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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